SPRINGFIELD — There is already a campaign filing into Secretary of State’s office that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis.
We’re just over a year into Missouri’s Medical Marijuana program being put in effect, but there are already rumblings that a recreational marijuana initiative could be on the ballot this fall.
There have already been ballot initiatives filed with the Secretary of State’s office that would legalize adult use of recreational marijuana for those 21 or older, and it would come with a 15% tax to help veterans, infrastructure, and substance abuse.
Chip Sheppard, Board Member for the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association, worked on the campaign for getting medical marijuana passed in 2018.
He says despite how early the push has come since then for recreational cannabis, he thinks it’s something the public would accept.
“So none of us that lead the campaign for medical thought there was any chance of recreational, or any push for recreational, for at least four, six, eight years,” Sheppard says. “Of course, medical won by 66%. It was more popular than any of the politicians or even ethics reform. Recreational is going to be almost a popular whenever it hits the ballot, and really it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
Governor Mike Parson, when asked last week about recreational cannabis, said the state needed to focus on what was in front of them.
“I’m sure there is going to be discussion on that in the future. Right now, I think we have all we can worry about with medical marijuana, trying to figure out how we’re going to implement that. So right now we’re not even focused, having a conversation about medical marijuana,” says Parson.
However, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records, a campaign called “Missourians for a New Approach” (not to be confused with the 2018 medical campaign called New Approach Missouri) is approved to start gathering signatures.
That could be a tall task though, as they’ll need around 160,000 by May to get on the ballot this November.
“That’s a big mountain to climb between now and early May, which is the deadline for gathering those signatures, so that’s a big if,” Sheppard says.
The group “Missourians for a New Approach” is reportedly funded by the national “New Approach” PAC.
While nothing is certain regarding a recreational initiative, the states’ medical marijuana program is set to unveil its’ dispensary locations on Friday, January 24.